One of the truly innovative things you can do to update your website is to add features that allow you to automatically update your social media feeds. This eliminates the need for the people who handle your Internet marketing to update your social media feeds individually after making an update to your website.
Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants do have tools that work with them and that allow you to update them regularly. In fact, there are tools available that allow you to update your social media sites on a schedule. Your Internet marketing people, using these tools, could make several updates for these feeds and schedule them to deploy automatically.This can save a great deal of time and money and increase the return on investment you get from your website. It also allows you to do something very important, given the fact that many social media sites are coming up with various payment schemes for companies that use them for largely advertising purposes.
The value of having a Facebook profile and a Twitter account for a business has been discussed endlessly in many different media outlets. This tends to underrate the value of actually having a real website. As was said previously, many social media outlets are finding ways to charge business customers for the advertising that they do that was formerly free. Your website is something that you control and, of course, you don't have to pay for advertising on your own website.Integrating your website updates with your social media feeds provides you with a way to direct traffic to your website from those social media sites. Provided you have a good website, you may be able to retain some of those people and have them start visiting your site preferentially, rather than looking for your Facebook profile or other social media presence.
There's really no reason not to update a website with these tools. They're far too easy to use and far too economical to pass up. They also allow you to, perhaps ironically, enjoy a bit of freedom from being completely dependent on using social networks. Because you can handle this directly from your website, you don't have to expend the extra time involved in going through all of the different interfaces, making updates and, on top of all of that, trying to keep the updates consistent across many different social media networks.
Below is a link to the presentation I gave at the Reel Women's Film Festival. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dianna Means at the Reel Women's Film Festival for asking me to be a speaker. I would also like to thank Michelle Lee and Karen Stein at Hair and Makeup Artist's Network for coordinating my presentation. I also have to give a huge thanks to HubSpot.com who acted as a great resource for much of the material; they are truly on top of their game.DOWNLOAD | Reel Women's Film Fest Presentation
In a previous article, I talked to you about how to use Pinterest as a means to drive traffic to your website and drum-up sales. Today I want to talk about how to use this new top 10 social media tool to attract a demographic it has not yet fully reached: men. It should be obvious in your day-to-day interaction that men and women process information differently. According to studies, men can narrowly focus their brains on specific tasks or activities for long periods of time without tiring. Women are better equipped to divide their attention among multiple activities or tasks. This research lends itself to why Pinterest has found such a friendly response from female users. Pinterest’s structure is made for those who can multi-task and look at multiple streams of different topics and information at the same time. Think about that information and apply it toward the way Pinterest is structured. Men like single-subject content, i.e. men want to choose the things they want to see at that moment, not a proverbial quilt of other users content. This means they are more apt to search other users specific boards (a compiled set of pins pertaining to one topic) for great content. Using focused and content-specific boards is a great way to market to men as their brain is highly specialized. Men use specific parts of one hemisphere or the other to accomplish specific tasks, while the female brain is more diffused and utilizes significant portions of both hemispheres for a variety of tasks. Create boards with one idea in mind that can be easily searched. This may mean having to put on your SEO hat doing a little research with Google’s keyword analytics tool. Now that you have created a focused and targeted board, lets talk about how to use the Pinterest medium to your advantage by creating content men are more apt to look at. Pinterest is an image heavy medium and your campaign should be as striking as it is clever. With that said, here are some tried-and-true ideas that men will want to look at and share.Do It YourselfImages showing step-by-step method of handling a difficult task easily or creatively will always draw a man’s eyes. Nick Collins, a film student and avid Pinterest user says: “I use Pinterest for personal use and upload posts that relate to my style and posts that relate to everyone. My most popular board is my “DIY” and “Everyday Tricks” board, which always attracts interest and produces repins.”Funny StuffIf you watch any beer commercial (whose commercials are generally targeted towards men), you will see their primary tactic to garnering their viewers attention is through humor. Next to sex (more on that later), humor is the most commonly used marketing ploy to gather men’s eyeballs. Create your own funny content or ads to post or share the funny content of your peers. Try creating a board that encourages users to create funny captions to a picture (or pictures) that feature your product or your products lifestyle. A well made, funny ad is great fodder for virality and a surefire way to pick up the attention of your male market. Creative ResultsMen like seeing clever ways of getting things done. Why not show your product in a different light with creative uses and ideas for your projects? Suggest that people submit their creative ideas to your boards. Show men how your product can be a quick or efficient solution to a problem and they will be sure to share your image with their friends; most likely with a caption that reads something like “check out this” or “this is awesome”. These uncommon and creative adaptations to your product will gain virality and create a positive and functional connotation with your product.Sex Still SellsEverybody likes looking at a pretty person. The last and possibly the most obvious image that will attract men is sex. Men are genetically attracted to the visceral and sexual. Using fleshy pics that arouse the ire will help in selling your wares and spreading your message. Utilizing sex as a tool to sell your ads however may associate your brand with being salacious and possibly sleazy. A bit of market research should advise you how much discretion to use when using sex to market to your male client. Pinterest surely is a social network on the rise. These are a few ideas on how to use this powerful new network to target a male audience. Do you have any clever ideas to attract a male audience on Pinterest? We’d love to hear them, so share! Like this blog? Try these ones:4 Ways Your Small Business Can Reach Out On Pinterest7 Creative Uses For QR Codes
What are QR Codes? Although not yet fully adopted by the mainstream world yet, QR (or quick response) codes have seen a dramatic rise in usage and very well may be the new way that companies decide to give customers information on products. For those uninitiated, QR codes are those big squares you may have seen in the bottom corners of movie posters, under your drink on a coaster at your favorite restaurant or possibly next to various products at your local supermarket. With any smartphone armed with a QR code scanner (which are a free download on any app store). In the future, an advertisement may not be just a message and a picture, but an interactive environment with unlimited possibilities. What you can do with these handy bar codes may surprise you. What can I do with QR codes?Now that I’ve (hopefully) piqued your interest into QR codes, what kind of information can a QR code hold? In the end, it all depends on how powerful your end-users reader is. Below is a list of things any QR reader can do and some notions on how your business may be able to utilize QR codes:You can open URLs in a browserProbably the most common way to use a QR code, using it as a link to your company’s website or blog is one method, but think harder; what about a specially tailored site or campaign customized to the demographic of people that is likely to scan your code? Be creative with your site (and maybe poach a few other ideas from this blog) to make something truly unique that will give your target market a memorable experience. Use QR codes to display hidden/secret textThe simplest of tasks you could ask of a QR code may seem like the type of command you may want to skip over, but it could have a few uses if you think creatively. Perhaps hiding your code with a special password on it that when given provides a special deal at your establishment. Help people in setting up system alertsDo you have a weekly special or special event coming up? Why not create a QR code that will automatically set up a reminder in your clients calender on their phone?Collecting contact information (including vCards)Having a networking event or party? A QR code would be a simple way to have guests register or sign in to an event. Do you want to grab everybodies contact info to send thank-you cards or a newsletter?Reconsider the whole “business-card-in-a-fish-bowl” raffle contest with a digital QR code version that can easily be imported right into your company’s mailing list. Create a QR code for sending email or text messages (SMS)Give customers a great way to let their friends know where they are, possibly with daily specials or a password for special deals or promotions.Create a fun E-card that guests and clients can share with their friends.Use QR codes as a means of making geolocation easierIs your customer lost? Help them out by pinning your address into their phone’s GPS with a QR code. From there, give them directions to your other locations, affiliates, or just the quickest route home.Use a QR code as a simple way for customers to check-in to your establishment or to show proof that they went to a secondary location.Easily Connect to WiFi using a QR codeUse an easy-to-find QR code to grant WiFi access to mobile users in a quick, interactive way that can makes remembering clunky passwords a thing of the past.Where can I get a QR code? By googling “QR codes” you can find a litany of sites that can generate you a QR code free of charge. If you plan on using your QR code for a larger, more focused campaign, you can pay to have a QR code generated that will record statistics and demographic information. However, if you are too lazy to Google the aforementioned keywords, here are two sites of merit:http://www.qrstuff.com/http://qrcode.kaywa.com/http://bronto.com/blog/mobile-marketing/7-best-practices-qr-code-success#.T-jzruJWqs1Info for programming codes to do the previous functions should be able to be found on the above sites, if not a great resource I used for this article can also help you with some of the programming as well: http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/qr-codes-uri-schemes/What are some creative ways you can (or have) thought of to use QR codes in the ways mentioned above? We would love to see some examples.Find this article useful? Check out these blogs:Creating Relationships With Your Customers On The Mobile Web.What Is NFC? NFC And The New Google Wallet.
Sam Walton of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart is noted for saying to his executives “If you need any question answered, go to a store and ask our customers.” The idea of crowdsourcing is quite similar; bringing your clients, experts and fans of your company into the fold to assist your company in creating something palatable for your target audience. Many companies have used this method to gather ideas for their marketing and branding campaigns for a few years now. Doritos has become notorious for their crowdsourcing techniques to create their Super Bowl commercials. Recently, Harley Davidson has shifted almost their entire marketing campaign to their fans who they now rely upon to create the ideas behind their marketing campaigns.Crowdsourcing is a great way to tackle a project or problem that you may not have the talent pool or skill set to accomplish. It can also be good as a form of surveying tool to see what your target audiences or markets like and dislike. Before your company dives head first into the crowdsourcing game however, lets go over a few basic parameters on how crowdsourcing works:Focus on InclusionAt the heart of crowdsourcing lies inclusion. Find your core audience of those willing to take a look at your problem, this could be anyone from the ambassadors of your product to experts in the field of whatever problem you need solving. To find these people, harness your social media platforms, particularly the ones where people are talking the most about what you would like crowdsourced. Another option is to look toward crowdsourcing websites like www.crowdsourcing.org, which can provide resources and forums to get your project off the ground. Another tactic to find qualified members for your crowdsourcing project would be through your LinkedIn network and the forums that lie therein. The LinkedIn forums provide a trove of focused specialists eager to help answer questions and possibly even join in on your project if they feel a passion towards it (or find it a good resume booster). The website Open Innovators has compiled a great list of crowdsourcing sites that will help you find your desired team. Promote TransparencyCrowdsourcing is all about sharing your project with a community, leave few secrets between you and your team. Start by creating a project brief and identifying your primary audience. Then, list your goals and desired outcomes succinctly enough that every member of your group understands your project in the same light you intended. Set parameters and guidelines for your project along with a deadline. Remember, you are the coach of your crowdsource project, so make your management available for questions and to provide feedback on your project. Make sure to stay in contact and stay on the pulse of your project. Having a transparent and straightforward attitude with your crowdsource will create a better, more actualized product.Create IncentiveThere is an inherent reward of completion built into crowdsourcing, particularly if your project was crowdsourced by those who are fans and advocate your product. It is always nice however to sweeten the pot with other incentives. Websites like www.innocentive.com offer cash rewards for those who can help companies solve their problems. Incentives do not have to be in just cash form (although in many cases, it can be the biggest motivator); it can be in product samples, discounts, swag, and about anything that is worth the work put in. Remember that most people work for an incentive, so the sweeter the reward, the better work you are likely to get. Don’t forget to show your appreciation to those who helped you finish your project either, give them credit and laud them when and where it is due.Encourage FeedbackOnce your project is completed, make sure you tell the world that your project was crowdsourced. Not only is it great PR for your company, but it is also a great way to gather more people to crowdsource your next project. If your target audience is within your crowdsource, you may consider allowing them to choose a winning campaign/project by a vote while in the research phase. Gather feedback about the project from your audience and make sure to send it back to your crowdsource so they know what went right and what they could do better on their next project. Following through in this way will keep your crowdsource pool active and happy to work with you again.Have you ever used crowdsourcing before? How did it work for you? Let’s talk about it! We would love to hear your feedback. Comment below or send me an email at: email@example.com.Daniel Clauser is the Social Media Strategist for Media Contour (https://mediacontour.com). Daniel is eager to connect with all and answer any questions and may be reached @mediacontour on Twitter and Facebook or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My dad runs a successful business. And he has done so without stepping foot on the Internet. How has he done that?By having a presence within his field.You call his company, you get his cell phone. You want to talk to the head of sales, you talk to him. You want to have a meeting with the production manager, he can pencil you in some time between two other meetings. Not that he doesn’t have dozens of qualified workers handling those jobs, but rather he cannot stand the idea of someone else representing his brand other than him. I mean his name is on every box that’s shipped for crying out loud.To call this micromanaging is as gross an understatement as saying Robin Williams has “a little stubble,” but it proves a point; my dad has a presence. He’s everywhere, and on the Internet, building your online presence is just as important.If you’re like my dad however, you don’t have the time to be everywhere in the real world and the virtual world, but there are a few things (besides having a website) you can set up to make sure you at least have some sort of online presence and manage communication with your customers:Email MarketingNo, this isn’t spam, nor is it junk mail. It is a means of getting your word out to all of your clients about whatever sales, promotions, news, or events you may have going on. There are many programs available to ease this process and help non tech-savvy professionals manage mailing lists, create newsletters, and configure deals tailored to particular sets of clients and build a greater online presence. Great products to try include: Constant Contact, MailChimp, and iContact.Social MediaI know you’ve heard it before but really, you need to have a presence here. No matter what widget you sell, every company should have some sort of presence within the major social media portals. Those sites would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media is how you keep a more interactive contact with your customers and clients and grants you access to a makeshift focus group of your customers and clients. Your social media accounts will create a space for feedback (both good and bad) on your company, thus creating a means to measure customer sentiment, an invaluable marketing tool for any company. Other social networking sites may be relevant for your company (tumblr or flickr for pictures or slideshare for sharing PowerPoint presentations and seminars) and should be considered as needed. Social media is a great and way to lend your company a voice in the online world and further build your online presence.BloggingTo those uninitiated, a blog is a means of posting your ideas, thoughts, photos, and whatever else you have kicking around your brain. Actually, you’re reading a blog right now! Think of it as an online bulletin board that is an arm of your website (A blog on how any Joe Schmo can add a Wordpress account to their site to come soon). Blogs are a great way to show the world your company’s ethos, philosophy and lifestyle. Share your blogs across your social media platform and watch the traffic to your websites grow and have your online presence be felt. Add found and created videos from YouTube (see below) and gather even more traffic. If you’re really looking to kick up your web-traffic, look into hiring a search-engine-optimization or SEO professional to optimize your web-presence.YouTubeThe Internet is a whole lot more than texts and images anymore; it’s all that plus conversation and video. I know what your thinking: “making a video is a time-consuming, difficult process that requires hours of dedication and focus.” Well step out of your Black Maria, Thomas Edison; my $99 smartphone can create decent, watchable footage and can be edited with free software that’s as fun and as simple to use as PowerPoint (if you have a Mac, you already have iMovie and are ready to go). Make video of your company’s special work environment, or how you create a superior product. What about a video tutorial on how to troubleshoot some of your clients biggest problems? What about a video on the last work outing/event you and the crew went on? Once you’ve shot and edited your great footage, just post it on your social media sites and share it through your mailing list! Don’t have the time to make a video? What about taking a photo album and making a simple slideshow with music to showcase your work for a client? You’ve just created viral publicity. Now wasn’t that quick and easy?Got anything else to add? What simple things do you do to help out your online presence? Leave us a post on our blog or comment on our Facebook or Twitter.Like this article? check out these blogs as well:5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog For Your CustomersBlogging For Your Business. Should You Outsource Your Blog?
Last time we spoke, I explained the reasons why you shouldn’t hire and intern to handle your social media. I explained to you how foolhearted it is to trust your whole online identity to someone who has little to no financial interest in your company. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have an intern work with your social media. Quite the contrary. A student intern is well poised to learn about the field of social media and most likely is into social media more than a good percentage of your coworkers.To shed further light on this matter and provide you with greater insight on how to harness your social media intern, I interviewed Denton Biety from Prevision Development. Denton has led campaigns for multinational corporations such as Ford, Snapple and Warner Bros. Home Media. Denton goes on in this interview to explain how to properly use your intern to strengthen your social media campaign.Daniel: So lets get into it, you’ve hired an intern. What should they be doing?Denton: Overall the best way to leverage an intern's involvement with your social media initiatives depends entirely on the intern. How much, if any, business or marketing experience do they have? Are they a great writer and excellent communicator? Are they an analytical thinker who can develop and understand reporting to measure the effectiveness of your programs with respect to the KPIs (key performance indicator) you establish for your social media programs? Are they detail oriented? Can they spell? All of these factors are essential to the effective performance of a social media marketer.Daniel: So its more about finding the jobs they can do that are best for their particular skills rather than cramming them into one particular area.Denton: Precisely.So once we have figured out what those particular skills are, how can any intern help a social media team create a better campaign?Denton: Content planning. In my experience, optimal engagement via social networks varies for each brand, product, or service. Every audience is unique. However, effectively measuring key engagement metrics like interactions, unsubscribes, ReTweets, etc. will help you see the frequency and type of content you should be posting. In my experience 3-4 posts to your Facebook page weekly, and 3-4 tweets daily is a good baseline for your content planning. This can require a great deal of time to do effectively. If an intern can assist with this, or at least do some legwork to generate ideas your more senior staff can riff on, it can be a great use of an intern's time.Daniel: Let’s say your intern has a bit more writing skill and you would like to harness that. What would be a great way for both your intern and your social media team to mutually benefit from their work?Denton: If your intern has great ideas on generating content assisting with copywriting may be a great task for your intern. Using an excel template, and intern can create a content plan that indicates what days and perhaps what time of day you will post, tweet, etc. If they are an effective communicator, they may be able to adopt the tone or voice your more knowledgeable staff has cultivated or is cultivating via social media, and produce a good portion of the content you'll be deploying. Ultimately, this spreadsheet should go to more senior and experienced marketers for review, approval, or editing. However, a lot of the initial legwork may be a good job for an intern.Daniel: Say your intern is into marketing or business, what jobs may be best suited for them?Denton: Reporting and research. Without solid reporting in place there is no way to know your ROI with respect to your social media programs. Developing KPIs and leveraging key sources for analytic information to develop solid reports is something better suited to a senior marketing professional with a great deal of experience. One challenge in generating actionable reports to better evaluate the effectiveness of your social media is where to gather the data. Facebook Insights, web analytics (Google analytics, Omniture, etc.) 3rd party Twitter reporting tools (Hootsuite, twittercounter, etc.) and social media monitoring tools (Radian6, Google Alerts, Visible Technologies, etc.) are all pertinent data sources. Reports will likely include key data from all these sources. As such, there's a good deal of legwork required in generating these reports on a weekly or monthly basis. Once an intern has been trained in how to gather the data and input it into your templates, this can be a great ongoing task for them.Daniel: And what about the research portion?Denton: As social marketers, one of the very first steps to any campaign is to identify key influencers in our target markets. Are there Twitter users, Bloggers, YouTube Vloggers you can identify and engage for cross-promotional opportunities? An intern can research and develop a list of key influencers to target with your messaging and/or promotions or partnership marketing offers. Once we have found and identified those people, we must find out how they [and the rest of the world] feel about our brand. In Social media this is called “sentiment scoring.” In the event that you are using a social media monitoring tool such as Radian6 or Visible Technologies, sentiment scoring can be a simple task for an intern. Essentially, these products will identify tweets or blog posts mentioning your brand, and they will attempt to "Score" that mention as "positive" or "negative" based on their proprietary algorithms. A mundane task that helps these tools score sentiment around your brand more accurately is to manually review the automated scores and correct them if needed.Daniel: Lastly, say you have an intern who floats between many jobs and stations. Are there any roles a “floating intern” may assist with to help out the social media team?Denton: Profile management is a labor-intensive undertaking, and senior social marketing resources may not have time to keep up with the demands of maintaining fan pages or twitter conversations on a day-to-day basis. Does your Facebook page wall have comments enabled? Are you using Twitter to respond to customer service or any other mentions or direct messages? While I would not recommend relying on an intern to determine the guidelines around removing comments from your wall or blog, or responding personally to twitter mentions or questions - an intern can perform the time-consuming but important task of monitoring your social profiles on key networks. Whether they are deleting comments containing expletives from Facebook due to your company's guidelines, or whether they are forwarding inquiries to key internal personnel, having an intern handling these day-to-day responsibilities is a good use of their time.Do you agree with Denton’s tips? Have they helped? What would you like to hear about? We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts. Tell us at facebook.com/mediacontour or twitter.com/mediacontour.Denton Biety began his online marketing career as one of the first employees of MusicToday.com, a leading marketing solutions provider for the music industry. With over ten years of experience developing and managing interactive marketing campaigns for top brands including Fremantle Media / American Idol, Marvel Comics, Universal/Vivendi, Nokia, and others, Denton has deep experience in many disciplines of online marketing including social media, email, search and affiliate marketing as well as branded application development, website development analytics and optimization. Prior to joining Precision Development, Denton led social media marketing programs for Ford Motor Company, Snapple and Warner Bros. Home Video as an Account Director at M80, a leading social media marketing agency. Denton is a graduate of the University of Virginia. Denton may be reached personally via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dentonbiety and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/dentonbiety
The average Joe-Businessman is sure to find blogging to be another thing to do in an already busy work week. Blogs are a great way to build content and add weight to your site, especially for search engine page rankings. They can also act as a human face to a big corporation, thus building a rapport with clients who may have thought otherwise about your company. If you’re just as busy as the aforementioned businessman, this is where hiring a blogger would come in; or someone from HR steps in and handles the legwork. But who is qualified for writing what? Are you getting what you’re paying for? Ahead are some answers and tips about blogging for your business.What is your company blogging about?Who reads your blogs? Is it clients? Potential clients? Employees? Depending on who reads your blog you may have different strategies of what to post. Should you have a lot of potential clients viewing your blog, your blog would likely be more geared to selling your wares. Blogging about the positive notes and reviews your company has received will show your brand quality. Typically, employees would like to see more about company news and events, or even about themselves. Should people currently doing business with you be reading your blog it should have information to help product users and content that bolsters their decision to choose and stay with your company/product.Who should write your blog?At its best, a great company blog is written by as top level of an employee as possible. Granted they can write of course, and have the time. Typically one or both of these factors are not something higher-ups have, and the task is matriculated down the chain until it is so far down the chain, the product won’t even be worth the time, and hiring a blogger would just make more sense. Cheap blogging services are available but typically yield a poor product with few facts and essentially just words on a page with little research behind them. Not to say that good bloggers are terribly expensive either, usually not for much more than any.It is usually best to hire a blogger who is either:
A skilled blogger can create content that your target reader will love to enjoy, but just posting worthless items does nobody any good. Truly good blogging is a situation in the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” Poorly written pieces do nothing but take up space and fill up your server with junk no one will ever read. However a well-written blog will lead to more readers, people linking your articles and sharing them across social media platforms. Thus spreading your name (and stretching your marketing buck) farther than you could imagine.For blog writing tips check out these related posts: Here and Here.
What are your thoughts about outsourcing your companies blog?
It’s a hard job trying to convince 750 million people to change their day-to-day habits. Just ask anyone from The American Cancer Society, or the people at Google+.If you’ve been catching up with social media news recently, you would know that Google+ is beginning to roll out business and corporate pages for its new social media platform. Facebook has long since used this as lucrative means for businesses to interact with their customers. Naturally Google+ is going to jump in too, but is this how they can catch up with Facebook. If you read our previous blog, you would know that Google+ is going to have a hard time catching up with Facebook’s 750 million active users, which in itself makes it hard for the new platform to get up and running. How will it try and get you to switch? Three words:Consumer Intent DataConsumer Intent Data is the driving force behind Google’s advertising system. In layman’s terms, when you search Avatar on Blu-Ray and an HDTV, Google knows to advertise you a Blu-Ray player or HD cables. You search for razors; they try and sell you shaving cream. While Facebook has this information in some ways, Google has this type of info; in spades.How both companies use this information is regarded as a well-kept company secret. However, from a marketing standpoint, Facebook’s data is more based on less sturdy footing. On Facebook people usually post on things like their needs and wants or their current actions. This data has relative value to any Joe Marketeer, but when compared to what Google has consumer-datawise, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Any form of research, analysis, or shopping is tracked and kept for its own marketing purposes, along with its knowledge of what keywords consumers use when shopping for products.This is how I believe Google will keep up. A finer interaction between it's marketing team and big brands and corporations to bring a greater service of customized advertisement to each user. Even better, it’s circles tool will achieve a greater idea of who else would potentially like what a user is being advertised and market to them as well.Turns out Google may have something here after all...What do you think about the future of marketing on social media?
In the wake of the recent Facebook vs. Google scandal, it may be naive to suggest that we’re “trending” toward anything remotely kinder or gentler in the world of business ethics. However, it does make me wonder whether Gordon Gekko-style cutthroat capitalism is the most effective way to do business in our increasingly web-based culture. In the social media sphere, where everybody is equally vulnerable to defamatory attacks—and perhaps equally vulnerable to being exposed as the perpetrator—are other models more effective?I would argue that there is a new ethos emerging in the web business space driven, in part at least, by the ever-evolving and collectively scripted rules of social media.Here are just few tips on how to promote your brand using social media (that don’t involve planting scandalous blogs about your competition!).Be interestedPeople utilize social media first and foremost as a way to interact with other people, not products. So the brand that shows up on the twitter feed bombarding followers with a string of self-promotion will likely be seen as a narcissistic party guest. If you had, say, a kitchen supply company, you might engage followers/friends with a question like “Anyone have a great recipe for Baked Alaska?” By asking questions, replying to their posts and re-tweeting their links, you demonstrate that you appreciate them beyond their value as potential customers… and they’ll, most likely, return the favor.Be a part of the conversationCreate a message that gets people involved in the idea of the brand, not just the brand itself. With a kitchen supply company, your message might be “I want to get people excited about cooking.” On a practical level, this could mean posting recipes and re-tweeting information about foodie blogs or cooking shows that you love. This places your brand in the middle of a conversation, rather than in the position of hawking your wares outside of it.Create Valuable ContentPost blogs and videos that are intrinsically useful to consumers whether or not they are in the market for your product. For your hypothetical kitchen supply company, posting a profile on a “vegetable of the week,” or a series of three-minute “how to” videos goes a long way in engaging your audience. Quick tips like “how to chop basil” are particularly useful for people who are doing searches and will also serve to drive traffic to your site. ReciprocateLook for opportunities to support other brands. Use your blog to post an interview with a local produce farmer, or to review some of your favorite cookbooks. Although true reciprocity demands nothing in return...chances are that your farmer or author will be re-tweeting that post to his or her followers, which will in turn bring people to your site.Do you have a social media success story involving your business? We’d love to hear about it. Write to us here at email@example.com.